Sun, Jul 20, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Scott Dixon takes pole position and breaks track record

AP , GLADEVILLE, TENNESSEE

Scott Dixon shattered the track record with a lap of 331.793kph to win his third consecutive IRL pole in qualifying Friday at Nashville Superspeedway.

The effort left Dixon one short of Billy Boat's 1998 record of four straight poles. Dixon's top start in Saturday night's Firestone Indy 200 comes after the New Zealander sat on the pole in Richmond and Kansas City.

Dixon erased Boat's year-old track record of 327.824kph, taking only 22.69 seconds to get around the 2.1km concrete oval for his fourth pole of the season. His lap was more than three seconds faster than Boat's 2002 pole run.

Dixon also started first in Motegi, Japan, after rain washed out qualifying.

"It's been pretty good," Dixon said of his qualifying efforts. "It would be nice if we can keep it this way for the rest of the season."

Now his challenge in the IRL's third and final night race this year is to finish better. Dixon has won three races, but trails series leader Tony Kanaan by 31 points despite leading 524 laps this season.

"It's been sort of a rough start to the year for us," Dixon said. "I think we've had the speed, and we just need some more consistency. I think we've finally worked out our fuel problem, so maybe we can stay in the race for the full length this time and maybe come away with some good points."

Dixon has prevailed at Homestead, Pike's Peak and Richmond as the IndyCar series' only multiple winner through eight races. But he finished 20th at Phoenix because of a gearbox problem, and accidents took him out in Japan and the Indianapolis 500.

His team also has struggled with problems with fuel mileage, which hurt him with a sixth-place finish in Kansas. Dixon believes his teams worked through those problems during testing here last week.

"If it was a dream season, I think we would have finished every race that we could,'" he said.

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